Mountain equipment, requirements, permissible loads, how strong mountain equipment should be, certification, service life and storage.

Mountain equipment is an integral part of any climb. Therefore, the climber needs knowledge about certification, service life, storage, culling and permissible loads on equipment and units that are used on the route. 

Mountain equipment, requirements, permissible loads, how strong mountain equipment should be, certification, service life and storage.

How strong should mountain gear be??

When falling, the human body is able to withstand a load of about 12 kN. Under this load, as a rule, there are no serious physical injuries incompatible with life. Stall during climbing on a climbing wall creates a load in the safety chain from 2 to 4 kN.

In the event of a safety violation, improper insurance, improper use of equipment and other errors, loads of up to 8-10 kN can be expected. If such a load falls on the top point in the safety chain, then, according to the laws of physics, it increases by about 1.5 times.

Thus, the strength of the main connecting elements of the safety chain (carbines, loops, braces, etc.) must withstand such loads with a large margin. At the moment, in accordance with the standards, the strength of climbing equipment should be 22 kN. Strapping -15 kN.

Climbing certification.

For example, in Europe, mountain climbing equipment is subject to mandatory certification. In European countries there are a large number of certification laboratories that a manufacturer can contact.

In accordance with European certification rules, the product is applied:

CE mark.
Certification Lab Number.
The compliance rate of which the product is certified.
Additional marking depending on the type of equipment.

For example, marking on the CE1015 carbine EN12275 carbine means that this carbine is certified by laboratory number 1015 (Czech Republic, SZU laboratory) for compliance with European standard 12275. In addition to the European certification system (the most common at the moment), there are other standards. For example, in the USA and Canada.

UIAA Certification.

The International Association of Mountaineering Federations (UIAA) is an international organization that includes mountaineering federations around the world. The UIAA was the first organization to begin testing mountain equipment and assessing its degree of safety. One of the UIAA units is the Safety Commission..

This commission has developed standards that form the basis of European and other standards, and at the moment EN, these are UIAA standards, with only minor changes. The main activity of the commission is the updating of standards, norms, as well as research in this direction.

In Russia, according to intersectoral rules, equipment for work at heights is subject to certification for compliance with the technical regulations of the Customs Union TR CU (formerly GOST-R system).

Who conducts equipment testing?

As a rule, equipment testing is carried out by independent laboratories accredited for such activities. UIAA does not conduct its own testing, but uses the test results of laboratories accredited by the UIAA Safety Commission. Currently, all such laboratories are located in Europe..

Equipment testing and quality control.

Each manufacturer himself carries out quality control of their products. Two types of control can be distinguished.

Selective control.

A number of samples are taken from the batch and testing is carried out for compliance of these samples with the requirements of the standard.

Individual testing.

A number of products, in particular carbines, are tested individually by most manufacturers. At the final stage of production, a load of about 10 kN is applied to the product. Such a load does not destroy or deform a quality product, but it is destructive for products that have internal defects.

If you look closely at the new carabiner, then you can notice small dents in it on such a test. It should be understood that not all types of products are technically possible to test individually.

Table of permissible loads on mountain equipment and components.

Mountain equipment, requirements, permissible loads, how strong mountain equipment should be, certification, service life and storage.
trigger devices. No service life. With effort, if natural wear (10%) does not occur, there is no evidence of corrosion or other unnatural changes..
Plastic products: helmets 5 years maximum. If natural wear has not occurred, such as chips, cracks.

Unsuitable carbine example.

Mountain equipment, requirements, permissible loads, how strong mountain equipment should be, certification, service life and storage.

Equipment Shelf Life.

Shelf life can be determined by checking the date of manufacture of the product on the tags of equipment. For ropes: inside there is an identification tape or marked thread. The identification tape contains the following information:

About the rope manufacturer.
The standard used for testing.
About the type of rope.
Material (e.g. RA polyamide, PP polypropylene).
date of manufacture.

Dynamic rope life.

Subject to all the basic instructions for the safe use of dynamic ropes, the following term of their intended service is recommended:

Intensive everyday use (sports climbing, work as an instructor and guide, artificial climbing walls) for less than 1 year.
Regular weekend use (year-round) 1-2 years.
Regular use go on weekends (seasonally) 2-3 years.
Rare use (rest, once a month) -3-5 years.
One-time use 5-7 years old.
Unused rope 10 years.

Culling conditions for carbines and other iron:

Carabiners and other “iron”: if the wear is more than 10% (for example, a 1 mm carbine “sawed”), there is corrosion, a trace from the impact, the other must be discarded.

Rope rejection conditions:

Braid damage where core is visible.
Tactile perceived structural change.
The appearance of a place where the rope is thinner or thicker.
Folds in half not like in other places.
The presence of paint, oil, other chemical traces.
The presence of extraneous, especially chemical, odors.
Lack of factory marking of rope ends.
Marking of the middle must be done at the factory or with the intended marker.

Culling conditions for the safety system and guy loops:

Thread integrity broken.
There are tears of power slings.
The product has traces of paint, sealant, oil, and other traces whose origin is unknown.
Damage, deformation, corrosion of buckles.
Burns on tapes in the places of filling them with buckles (may occur as a result of a strong jerk).
Violation of the integrity of the power ring of the safety system.

History of operation and storage of the product.

Taking someone else’s mountain equipment, it is extremely important to be sure that it was properly used, stored, not subjected to jerks and falls. In fact, you should fully trust the one who gave you this mountain equipment, since you trust this equipment with your life.

If the mountain equipment has passed the test on all points above, then it is possible to use it. If at least one of the points is in doubt, it is better to refuse to use this equipment.

Equipment storage.

Storage conditions for equipment are described in detail in the instructions that the manufacturer accompanied the product. In general, a dry, cool place with an air temperature of 10-20 degrees, without exposure to aggressive environments, ultraviolet radiation is suitable for storage..

What can not be done with equipment?

Use mountain equipment not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions..
Exposure to any chemistry (adhesive from electrical tape and stickers, solvents, superglues, acids, alkalis, salts).
Do not follow manufacturer’s equipment care instructions.
Damage intentionally (pierce with cats, beat with hammers, throw from a height of more than 5 meters, incise, grind, saw).
Leave not dried for a long time.
Exposure to UV.

More about dynamic ropes:

Ropes should not be taut for a long time.
Knots on a rope need periodic bandaging so as not to cause accelerated wear of one section.
Friction against rock, carbines and other sharp surfaces is the most common case of mechanical damage to a rope..
Ultraviolet radiation reduces the strength of the materials of which the rope is made.
Do not use the rope if in doubt about its condition or after a strong jerk.
In wet or frozen rope, dynamic properties and strength are significantly reduced, especially the strength of knots.

Based on the book School of mountaineering, a training manual.

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